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H2020 Marie Sklodowska Curie Individual Fellowships (Multicomponent Heterostructured Inorganic Nanocrystals for Artificials Photosyntheis Project)

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ICN2 is a renowned research centre. Its research lines focus on the newly discovered physical and chemical properties that arise from the behaviour of matter at the nanoscale.

The Institute promotes collaboration among scientists from diverse backgrounds (physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering) to develop basic and applied research, while seeking out new ways to interact with local and global industry.

It also offers researchers training in nanotechnology, develops numerous activities to promote and enable the uptake of nanotechnology by industry, and promotes networking among scientists, engineers, technicians, business people, society, and policy makers.

ICN2 was accredited in 2014 as a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence and is a founding member of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST). The aim of the Severo Ochoa Program, sponsored by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, are to identify and support those Spanish research centres that demonstrate scientific leadership and impact at global level.

Job Title:  H2020 Marie Sklodowska Curie Individual Fellowships (MSCA-IF 2017) Multicomponent Heterostructured Inorganic Nanocrystals for Artificials Photosyntheis Project

https://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/desktop/en/opportunities/h2020/topics/msca-if-2017.html

Research area or group:

http://www.inorganicnanoparticles.net/

http://icn2.cat/en/inorganic-nanoparticles-group

The Inorganic Nanoparticles Group, led by ICREA Research Professor Víctor Puntes (with joint appointments in the Vall Hebron Institute de Recerca (VHIR) (2015)) works on the synthesis, characterization and application of engineered inorganic nanoparticles. The Group consists of one senior researcher, Dr. Neus G. Bastús (Ramon y Cajal), a laboratory engineer, 1 postdoc, 4 doctoral students and 2 undergraduate students.

The general focus of its research is very broad, placing special emphasis on the nanoparticle's engineering and design in view of their applicability in materials science, energy harvesting and conversion, catalysis, environmental remediation and nanobiomedicine. The main scientific objectives of the group include i) the design and development of synthetic strategies for the production of complex nanoparticles, in detail multicomponent and hollow nanoparticles of different materials (metal, oxides and semiconductors), ii) their functionalization with specific relevant (bio)molecules, iii) the study of their fundamental properties and reactivity, and iv) the understanding of their physicochemical transformations (aggregation, degradation, corrosion and interactions with proteins) after their exposure in relevant in operando scenarios and during their full live cycle. As a result, we design advanced catalysts to improve energy-chemical processes, optimize NP's features to enhance the production of hydrogen or boost the Biogas production and design and produce new drug-delivery platforms.

The Inorganic Nanoparticles Group possess an extensive and pioneering background in these fields that allow to establish and develop numerous scientific collaborations within other ICN2 working groups, such as Supramolecular NanoChemistry & Materials Group, Magnetic Nanostructures Group and Nanobioelectronics and Biosensors group. Besides, the Inorganic Nanoparticles Group is in close contact with a wide number of international groups which focus their research either on the synthesis and characterization of NPs or their applicability. This collaboration is promoted and enforced by the 3 EU projects in which the group is involved.

Project Description:

MULTICOMPONENT HETEROSTRUCTURED INORGANIC NANOCRYSTALS FOR ARTIFICIAL PHOTOSYNTHESIS

Energy availability is one of the most important problems facing our civilization. Consequently, a major challenge in 21st century is the development of renewable carbon-neutral sources. The Sun is the most abundant energy source on Earth, representing by far the best alternative. While in biological systems the harnessing of solar energy is accomplished by specific proteins, nowadays inorganic semiconductor nanocrystals (NCs) can be designed to successfully address this task. However, photocatalytic materials being currently produced present serious limitations including low photocatalytic efficiency and unsatisfactory broad-band (visible-near infrared) light absorption. In this context, the main idea of the research project is to address the long-term challenge of identifying, designing and producing a new generation of NC-based photocatalysts that integrate dissimilar materials in a unique multicomponent heterostructured system with controlled architecture and advanced functionality.

Three specific objectives are identified: 1) the production of advanced complex NCs via breakthrough advances in wet chemical synthesis, 2) the unravelling of their structure-activity relationships, in particular a comprehensive study of the relations between synthesis conditions, morphology, architecture and physicochemical properties of the material, and photocatalytic efficiency, and 3) the determination of their efficiency in real scenarios, developing new sets of characterization protocols for the study of the physicochemical evolution of NCs.

As a result, the candidate will be specifically trained to gain interdisciplinar knowledge in the design and development of inorganic nanocrystals for energy harvesting and conversion, in particular on their synthesis, characterization and evaluation of their photocatalytic properties. In addition to acquiring a broad scientific multidisplinary knowledge, the candidate will be additionally trained on education, safety, viability and sustainability of nanostructured materials, including regulation, ethics and opportunities. He/she will gain communication and technology transfer skills and will be trained from the beginning to get familiar and follow the Good Laboratory Practice and Responsible Research and Innovation principles.

How to apply:

All applications must be sent to Victor F. Puntes/Neus G. Bastús (victor.puntes@icn2.cat / neus.bastus@icn2.cat ) and include the following:

1.              A full CV including contact details.

2.              Motivation letter.

3.              2 recommendation letters.

Deadline for applications: 30th June 2017.

Equal opportunities:

ICN2 is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity and inclusion of people with disabilities.